The Edward Zelleken House
406 South Sergeant
Circa 1893 ~ Queen Anne
Architectural features Parapets and Art Glass
Mr. Zelleken was born near Cologne, Germany and immigrated to the United States bringing with him practical knowledge of brewing & coopering. He and Charles Schifferdecker were partners in the brewing business in Baxter Springs, Kansas and made the move to Joplin together in 1875. In Joplin, Mr. Zellekendabbled a little bit in everything, brewing beer, banking, mining, and wholesale groceries to name a few.
When prohibition became effective, he moved to Joplin and became one of the foremost in the development of its commercial and financial interests. He assisted in the organization of the Galena Lead & Zinc Company and erected the first zinc smelters in Joplin. Mr. Zelleken was also the vice president of Miners’ Bank.
Worldly success was pleasant, but it could not balance personal tragedy. The latter was no stranger to Edward Zelleken, he suffered the loss of three of his seven children; Willie at the age of 2, daughter Tillie, died just before her wedding and so was buried in her bridal gown. And, son Frank also died before his father. Another heartache was his oldest daughter, Annie Zelleken Comerford which has her own story under the John Comerford biography.
Mr. Zelleken died in 1920 and left the house to his daughter Alvina Zelleken Dwyer. Seven of the nine members of Edward Zelleken’s family are buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.
Text from Joel Livingston’s History of Jasper County:
“In 1876, when the Germania Social and Literary Society of Joplin formed, it had over fifty charter members. Thus it was a small, but established German community.
At the height of World War I, there came a hysteria to the Joplin community about people of German origin, and the town felt threatened by the German community though unfounded fear. One man, Gustav A. Brautigam that owned a local delicatessen literally had to leave town for fear of his life.
Germanism in this country, even if the war stopped today, will have no prestige for several generations. Too much harm has already been done. We must realize the vastness of the change of conditions. Never in the history of the world has our situation been duplicated. It is a unique situation, but it is a surprisingly clear and plain situation: We left one country. Why? Because we were not satisfied with our conditions.
We entered another country with the full knowledge (unless we were lunatics) that we had to abide by the rules and conditions imposed by this new country. The new country was very lenient with us; we hardly knew that we were being governed.”